It’s been 5 days since I left Melbourne on a trip back home to Venezuela for 3 months. I am making a 12-day stop in Playa del Carmen, Mexico to visit my mother, brother and his beautiful family, before heading to Venezuela. After only 1 day in this blessed land of the Mayas I was invited to spend the day with my beautiful nieces at the local park “La Ceiba” where they were having a festival to celebrate “The Values of Handmade in the Community” with a wide variety of activities and local artists and producers selling their products. I was most keen to see the workshop announced where they were going to make puppets with PET bottles.
About 15 children gathered around the table, each where given two pet bottles to make their puppets. Ruben Tamez was the facilitator, a photographer, theater actor and puppeteer with tons of patience and lot’s of creativity.
They started off with two bottles of the same size. One was cut down by taking out the center part and then with tape joining the two remaining pieces. The new smaller bottle was to be the head of the puppet. Then, they where asked to add pebbles to the larger bottle “the body” so that it would have weight.
Next with a piece of string (15 cm long) they connected both bottles by taking one end of the string putting it in the large bottle and closing with the bottle cap. The other end was also inserted in the smaller bottle and secured by closing with the bottle cap again. They were left with around 7 cm of string loosely hanging between the two bottles, this is done so that the head can have motion.
Next, Ruben poked a small hole on the top bottle and inserted a stick of wood that was later secured in place with tape. This stick is how the children were going to control their puppet.
Next they were instructed to shred newspaper. The pieces were soaked in water down glue (paper machier technique) to cover the two bottles.
Once both PET Bottles were covered, they added another layer of dry newspaper. Finally they were ready to paint!
Simple to make and look at the amazing creativity….
I love learning new things, I was thrilled not to be in charge, but just to relax, take pictures, help my nieces and learn. I will definitely try this out in one of my workshops; maybe with a couple of variations, this method takes quite some time, too much time for the smaller kids or for a short workshop of only a couple of hours. In the end there was no time left to make stories with the puppets. To make the process quicker I would suggest maybe having markers so kids can decorate much quicker and less messier their PET Bottles. Another idea could be filling the bottles with plastics bags of different colors and decorating with other plastics elements such as bottle caps, straws and balloons. What a great beginning of my trip! I feel Blessed and Happy to be with my family again in this beautiful country, Viva Mexico! Órale!